Why Does My Cat Bite Me?
People do bad things. And very often the people doing those things know it, too. Billionaires realize they’re not supposed to manipulate markets and oil executives are aware that you shouldn’t dump oil into the ocean. People will do evil, and they will continue to do so because they are able to rationalize their actions if they start to hurt others. These people are amoral, selfish, and cruel. They’re not the kind of folks you want to have as friends.
But cats? They’re supposed to be good, sweet, and fluffy. I feed you every day, change your water, and give you pets! Why would you bite me? I LOVE YOU! Well, it turns out that some cats are just plain mean. And if that’s the case, we can close the book and move on. But more often than not, your cat might have a reason for sinking their teeth into your hand. Here are some reasons why your cat might be biting you.
1. Love Bites
If you’ve been petting your cat for a while, you’ll be rewarded with pleasant purring, a sign that your cat is content and satisfied with the attention. But sometimes you may receive a gentle nibble on your hand. These bites shouldn’t be painful, but they may be surprising if you weren’t expecting it.
Love bites are brief and shouldn’t last longer than a second. Your pet may give you love bites as a form of affection, but it could also be an early a sign that the cat is overstimulated and is trying to tell you that the time for petting is over. Pay attention to your cat’s body language. They shouldn’t have aggressive posturing or be trying to get away from you.
2. HEY! Knock it off!
Not to be confused with love bites, these bites are more prolonged and is a direct method of your cat telling you to stop whatever you were doing. These bites aren’t painful and should not be accompanied by swatting or hissing.
You’ll receive bites like these after prolonged petting or if you touch part of the cat they would rather you didn’t. Belly rubs and playing with their toe beans are an easy way to bother a cat, and they’ll make sure you know it. Your cat may be trying to back away from you as well. If you’re receiving bites like these, then it’s time to back off and give your cat some space.
3. Playtime Biting
Wrestling is generally a behavior of kittens and will involve one kitten chasing another followed by an embrace where the kittens will try to overpower each other. When kittens wrestle, you’ll see them kick with their feet and bite with their teeth. This isn’t necessarily meant to cause harm, but is how they express and train their natural hunting instincts.
Younger kittens don’t understand their own strength, and part of playtime involves learning how to moderate how much pressure they can put without hurting their littermates. You’ll often hear two kittens wrestling mew suddenly and loudly. This tells the biting kitten that they are using too much force and will teach them to play more gently.
If a suitable playmate isn’t available, your kitten will find a comparable target in your hand. While there isn’t anything particularly wrong with letting your kitten wrestle with you, it’s not something you want to encourage. Little kitties may not be able to do much damage to you, but they can when they get older. It’s in your best interest to discourage this behavior while the kittens are still young, otherwise you lend yourself to trouble when they get older.
Kitten will eventually grow out of wrestling as they mellow out with age, usually between six months to a year. As with many things cat-related, the biggest factor will always be the individual personality of the cat.
4. Aggressive Biting
Aggressive biting is just that, biting aggressively. Whatever the reason that bothered a cat enough to attack you, it’s in your best interest to defuse the situation. Give your cat some space and back off. Try and figure out what happened to set your cat off and avoid doing the same thing again. Cats can sometimes hold a grudge, and you’ll probably need to make it up to them to improve your relationship with your pet. The most tried-and-true method to do this is with food. Repairing a damaged relationship may take some time, but cats are fairly simple creatures and will eventually come around.
Biting is usually a habit of younger cats. Older cats will generally grow out of it and if they don’t, it’s a good idea to teach them to not bite. Cats are natural hunters, some would argue that they’re not even domesticated in the same way dogs are. It is part of our responsibility as pet owners to make sure that they don’t use their natural weapons in anyway that would hurt us or our loved ones.